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There was nothing more dramatic, divinely inspiring, moody, sensational and edgy than Riccardo Tisci’s spring 2016 collection, or the environment artist Marina Abramovic created for the first-ever Givenchy show in New York.
See more New York Fashion Week’s Front Row
A chanting Tibetan monk kicked off the festivities as the New York fashion crowd gratefully waited an hour and fifteen minutes for the show to start — or for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to show up languorously last minute, depending on how you look at it. Then, as one looked up on top of the piled-high recycled scaffolding all along the runway on Pier 26 at North Moore Street in Tribeca, stretching out into the murky water with a spectacular pink sunset unfolding like a set — one spotted a figure standing next to pouring water and still reverent figures holding trees. All were part of the stark set meant to be reminiscent of Brazilian urban slums — not that anyone in this crowd has even been to a Brazilian slum. The music throughout the show was operatic, sung by a robed cloaked singer, who closed it all off with a haunting version of Ave Maria. Religious? Spiritual? Downright weird? It’s not the first time we’ve seen Tisci create a masterful moody set, but it’s the first time it’s been set in New York on a pier just south of the Holland Tunnel. Too bad it was called for Friday night rush hour. It took many guests an hour just to get from midtown and downtown to nearly the end of lower Manhattan.
FRONT-ROW ROYALTY: Debbie Harry and Nicki Minaj at Givenchy’s spring 2016 show. (Photo: REX USA)
Julia Roberts is not the kind of girl to wear a logo or a face on a T-shirt, but Riccardo Tisci’s face informed her bust line as she flashed her famous toothy smile in what we hope is a new Givenchy tee. Just another sign of “You Know You’ve Made it When” — but Tisci made it a long time ago, as well all know. Now he’s the acknowledged king of the red carpet, who gets ladies such as Roberts, Donatella Versace and Amanda Seyfried in his Givenchy ad campaigns. Seyfried was perched in the front row, along with Nicki Minaj, Ciara, Jennifer Hudson, Erykah Badu, Steven and Liv Tyler, Margot Robbie, Debbie Harry, Christina Ricci and Catherine Deneuve. Now that’s what you call an eclectic collection of icons. Only to be maybe outdone by the amount of major New York designers who turned out — a rarity — including Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Joseph Altuzarra and the Proenza boys. And then there were the supermodels who walked: Joan Smalls, Mariacarla Boscono, Jamie Bochert, Kendall Jenner, Frankie Rayder and Racquel Zimmerman.
GIVENCHY GIRL: Kendall Jenner walks Givenchy’s spring 2016 show. (Photo: AP Images)
There were men walking, too. Tisci threw in menswear, including a tuxedo shorts suit, on male models with short slicked-down hair. The men were as pretty as the women. But the women got the silk in what seemed a little like an homage to ’90s Dior and John Galliano; there were bias slip dress cuts galore, silk loosely falling robe coats, lace cream camisoles with long peplums worn on wide black tux trousers, and a new black-and-white lace-up shoe – oxford in the front, stiletto in the back. A few of the models even stumbled up the recycled platform stairs. But the clothes didn’t stumble: Tisci combined his signature tailoring with extreme fluidity – slip dresses embedded with lace in black or cream, all very boudoir and louche, and sexy as hell. But also a little reminiscent of the ’20s and ’30s, art deco, the jazz age, Jean Harlow and Chanel.
There were couture pieces, including a gown encrusted in pearls. No doubt the ladies in the front row were melting to wear any one of these pieces on a red carpet (even the loose trousers are red-carpet worthy when you add a cream silk camisole). The hair and makeup were kept very simple: liquid shiny bronze eye shadow, a touch a bronze plum stain and flat hair behind the ears, just slightly undone. Pat McGrath worked her magic minimally — and maximally — and a few of the models had jewel encrusted faces as all did in the fall 2015 Givenchy show. A face full or pearls? Not a bad plan for a bad skin day.
Don’t hold your breath looking for one of these creations at next Sunday’s Emmys. If Julia Roberts were going, that would be one thing. More likely we’ll see a few at the Golden Globes or on Jessica Chastain, a Tisci favorite, at a big movie premiere. It will be interesting to see the looks without the glorious set, Hudson River, pink sky and performance artists. Of course, the masterpieces will hold up just as well.
In the end, the real drama’s in the dress — and Tisci, better than anyone, knows this.
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